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 Parents, Guardians Connect and Learn at Appreciation Event

Parents and guardians connected with each other, received awards, and learned about everything from hip hop culture to healthy cooking at the annual Juvenile Court and Community Schools (JCCS) Parent/Guardian Appreciation Day.

The all-day event June 29 celebrated the importance of parental voice to education. It's vitally important for parents and guardians to work side-to-side with educators every day, said Stacy Spector, executive director of JCCS.

"We have so much power and strength when we come together on behalf of our kids," she said.

The parents had a chance to share stories and inspiration. They also were able to attend a wide variety of workshops, which included lessons in law, photography, cooking, dancing, and pop culture.

"We learned a little bit of everything," one of the parents said.

Sonia Flores, who was named Parent of the Year at the event, said she was thankful for the opportunity to learn and meet with other parents who may be facing similar challenges.

"I can share with the other parents my experiences with our kids and they can share with me," she said.

The day culminated with an appreciation celebration that included awards for parents and community partners. This year has been especially productive with parents sharing their feedback as JCCS built its Local Control and Accountability Plan and went through the process to renew its accreditation with the Western Association of Schools and Collages, said Cynthia Burton, JCCS family involvement specialist.

"You pushed us and made us do a better job," Burton told the parents.

This was the 10th year for the parent appreciation day. It has grown and gotten better each year, Burton said. There were almost 40 parents who participated this year.

The San Diego County Office of Education runs the Juvenile Court and Community Schools, which serves students who are either wards of the court or have been referred by social services, probation, or one of the 42 school districts in San Diego County. Services are provided to incarcerated youth, pregnant minors, foster youth, expelled teens, chronically truant youth, students in drug treatment centers and group homes, and homeless youth.